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Former President Barack Obama speaks during a drive-in campaign rally with Joe Biden on Oct. 31, 2020, in Detroit, Mich. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama in an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America" called the migrant crisis at the border in Del Rio, Texas, "heartbreaking" and a "painful reminder that we don't have this right yet."

Driving the news: Obama told Robin Roberts that comprehensive immigration reform is needed to fix "a system that, overall, is dysfunctional," ABC News reports.

  • "It's no secret that we don't have that. It's the reason I proposed comprehensive immigration reform," Obama said during an interview that aired Tuesday. "It's the reason Joe Biden proposed it during his administration, and it's something that is long overdue."

The big picture: Obama's remarks come as the Biden administration is drawing criticism for its handling of the migrant surge at the border in Del Rio.

  • The Biden administration used a Trump-era public health order, called Title 42, that fast-tracked deportations of migrant families at the southern border.

What he's saying: "Immigration is tough. It always has been because, on the one hand, I think we are naturally a people that wants to help others," Obama said.

  • "At the same time, we're a nation-state. We have borders. The idea that we can just have open borders is something that ... as a practical matter, is unsustainable."

Obama also expressed support for Biden's efforts to forge Democratic Party unity over the $3.5 trillion infrastructure package, which Obama said the country "desperately needs."

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.
  • "Any time Democrats try to pass legislation, there's gonna be some negotiation and back and forth and sometimes some arguments that spill out into the press," Obama said.
  • "At the end of the day though, Democrats believe that we can make an economy that is fair, that we can address critical issues like climate change in a smart way."

What to watch: Obama and first lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday will lead the groundbreaking festivities for the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago.

Go deeper: Obama to break ground on presidential library in Chicago

Go deeper

Harris breaks tie to confirm Biden's Education Department civil rights chief

Catherine Lhamon, then-chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, at a meeting in 2018. Photo: Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images

The Senate voted 51-50 on Wednesday to confirm Catherine Lhamon to lead the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights, with Vice President Harris casting the tie-breaking vote.

Why it matters: Lhamon, who led the same office under former President Obama, has faced criticism from Republicans who challenge her views on transgender students' rights and regulations on sexual misconduct in schools.

Republicans scuttle voting rights proposal

Sen. Joe Manchin. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

The Senate failed to advance a new voting rights bill in a 49-51 vote Wednesday, after Republicans successfully filibustered the bill.

Why it matters: The Freedom to Vote Act is the latest attempt by Democrats to counter Republican-led efforts to pass state laws restricting voting access. This marks the third time this year that Republicans have been able to scuttle voting rights legislation, the New York Times noted.

Report: Climate change is an "emerging threat" to U.S. economic stability

A firefighter watches an airplane drop fire retardant ahead of the Alisal fire near Goleta on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. Photo: Luis Sinco, Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A top U.S. financial coordinating organization took several steps on Thursday to manage the growing risks that climate change poses to the U.S. financial system.

Why it matters: While the Biden administration has been taking an all-of-government approach to climate change, like factoring climate risk into planning at the Treasury Department, today's moves by the politically independent Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) carry significant weight.